Church Leaders Offer Call to Prayer

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” – Psalm 46:1-3 (NRSV)

Gracious Lord, you are our refuge and strength, our very present help in trouble. With sadness and questions in our hearts, your Spirit prompts us in this hour to pray for our sisters and brothers in the wake of the tragedy in Boston. Comfort with your generous grace in a way only you can, Lord, those who lost their loved ones in the bomb explosions today, those who are trying to connect with their loved ones, and those who are injured. Strengthen first responders, medical personnel, and other authorities as they work through the day and night to come to the aid of many. Pierce the heart and soul of the perpetrator(s) of this act of violence. Forgive that individual(s) for they know not what they do.

The complete prayer offered by Neal Presa, moderator of the 220th General Assembly; Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly; and Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, can be found at the website of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Presa Shares Reflections

The Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, Moderator of the General Assembly, shared these  Reflections in Progress as part of a semi-annual report.   You may download the full report here.

Reflections in Progress

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is experiencing a deep time of discernment. With a fast changing landscape in our society, congregations and mid-councils responding in varied ways, the PC(USA) as a prior generation had known it, or even as we have collectively experienced it at the dawn of this new millennium is necessarily changing.

What I have seen and heard is a Church seeking to be faithful to our Reformed tradition, while willing to experiment and take risks. Folks are in one or a combination of three places:

  • Awareness: becoming aware that a changing landscape, demographic changes, finite resources, and a call to be more faithful in the midst of it all is calling for not onlystructural and organizational changes, but more importantly, durable, and attitudinal and cultural changes
  • Anxiety: with the prospect of change comes the anxiety of grappling with the question, “So, what next, Lord?” With this comes the instinct of organizational reconfigurations, managing stress and conflict, and with the ecclesial map shifting as congregations seek dismissal or exploring dismissal, anxiety and tension increase. The Presbyterian instinct is to run to the rules, processes, and policies as a safe haven for what is manageable and controllable
  • Advent: with the New Form of Government, some mid-councils and congregations are taking risks to do innovative ministries, or doing away with old structures and grappling with councils that focused so much on the governance function and attending more and more to cultivating and sustaining meaningful relationships nourished and propelled by worship, mission, and fellowship

In the midst of the various travels, speeches, and sermons in the next 18 months of my term, as with the first six months, I will give focused attention on two areas of a vision for our life together

  • Unity with Difference: building upon the groundwork laid out at the Stony Point Talks last December with leaders of the various progressive and conservative affinity groups, our hope is to bring both the discussion/debate model and the substance of the nature of our theological differences to the public arena to catalyze serious consideration around our unity in Jesus Christ with the differences we have
  • Ecclesiology: moves to restructure and reorganize must be informed and shaped by a robust ecclesiology grounded in our Reformed tradition for the 21st century, around Christ’s enduring and continual call to worship-witness, for we are Christ’s gathered-sent community

I remain grateful to serve our Lord and the Church in this way. Please join me in praying daily for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and for sisters and brothers in Christ here and around the world as we all seek to serve faithfully and fully in our Lord’s name. Grace and peace be with you.

Keeping Up with the 220th General Assembly

Stay abreast of all the reports, committee actions, and Assembly work by visiting

Plenary sessions will be live-streamed.  Click on PC-Biz on the above site to follow the business as it happens.

Remember our Commissioners and YAAD in your prayers throughout the Assembly.

Teaching Elder – Randy Argall

Ruling Elder – Anneliese Waggoner

YAAD – Sarah Johanek

Errata Sheet for 2011/2013 Book of Order

The Office of the General Assembly has published a two-page errata list for the new Books of Order.  That list may be found at this link:

You may also find this link on the Resources tab of this web page.

August Letters from Moderator and Stated Clerk

The Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010), Elder Cynthia Bolbach, reflects on her first year as Moderator.  Read her article reflecting on her experience and what she has learned about the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Read the article.

Stated Clerk  Gradye Parsons has also posted his monthly letter, “Ordinary Encounters, Extraordinary Power.”


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